European Communications

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European Commission approves the formation of Nokia Siemens Networks

Unconditional clearance given

The European Commission has announced that it has approved the planned transaction to merge the Networks Business Group of Nokia and the carrier-related operations of Siemens into a new company, to be called Nokia Siemens Networks. According to the Commission's assessment, the transaction would not restrict effective competition in the relevant markets of mobile and fixed telecom networks and services.

CEO designate of Nokia Siemens Networks, Simon Beresford-Wylie, welcomed the decision, saying it was an important step towards full regulatory approval and good news for customers. "We believe this decision by the European Commission is a key milestone in obtaining all the relevant approvals for the transaction. While there are notifications still pending in some countries, based on this decision we are optimistic that the merger can be closed within the timetable anticipated by both parties."
Beresford-Wylie also reiterated the benefits and strengths of the new company, saying: "Nokia Siemens Networks will have the scale and broad product portfolio necessary to compete globally and create value for shareholders. We will be well-positioned to help our customers meet the challenges of lowering costs, growing revenue, and seizing the opportunities presented by converging technology."
On June 19, 2006, Nokia and Siemens announced plans to combine Nokia's Networks business group and Siemens' carrier-related operations for fixed and mobile networks to form a new company called Nokia Siemens Networks. The new company, with 2005 calendar year pro forma revenues of EUR 15.8 billion, is uniquely positioned to deliver compelling customer benefits with a comprehensive portfolio of products and solutions for the converging telecommunications market. Nokia and Siemens continue to expect that the operations of the new company will start in January 2007.

Ericsson and Napster sign agreement for Napster Mobile with TMN Portugal

Ericsson and Napster  announced an agreement with Portuguese operator TMN for the music service Napster Mobile.

Napster Mobile gives TMN Portugal's subscribers access to more than 2 million full-length tracks from the Napster catalogue in the palms of their hands. They will also have access to Ericsson-aggregated personalization content.
Zeinal Bava, President of TMN Portugal, says: "Napster Mobile - with the well-known Napster brand - is an attractive offering that we are pleased to include in our portfolio. Ericsson offered us an easy, cost-efficient and quick way to launch the service through its hosted offering, which we think is a good business model for us."
Napster Mobile allows TMN's subscribers to search, browse, preview and purchase the content of their choice via their WAP or Java-enabled phones. Other features include a recommendation engine, which suggests content based upon each individual's taste, and dual delivery, which makes sure that - when content is purchased on the phone - a copy is sent to the customer's PC.
Hans-Erhard Reiter, President, Ericsson Portugal, says: "Napster Mobile was co-developed by Ericsson and Napster, leveraging Napster's immense catalogue of more than 2 million full-length tracks and Ericsson's mobile music platform and personalization content. It's a great offer for operators and we're glad to have TMN on board."
Hosting means Ericsson will integrate and manage the round-the-clock operations of the service for TMN under a managed service agreement. The hosting business model allows operators to launch attractive new services easily and cost-efficiently, with short time-to-market.

TV Cabo selects cVidya to provide data integrity solution

cVidya Networks, a global leader of Telecom Data Integrity and Revenue Assurance Systems, has announced today it has been chosen by the leading Portuguese Pay-TV Operator, TV Cabo, for the provision of a data integrity solution based on its MoneyMap product.

The agreement between cVidya and TV Cabo, a subsidiary of PT Multimedia and Portugal’s leading cable and satellite operator with over 1.4 million customers, is said to be a major step for cVidya's business with the Portugal Telecom Group. 
The data integrity solution deployment, lead by Filipe Monteiro, cVidya’s Regional Director for Southern Europe, is based on MoneyMap – cVidya's revenue assurance product.  The deployment of MoneyMap will develop into a full revenue assurance solution for TV Cabo, expanding cVidya's business in Portugal and with cable companies throughout Europe.
"MoneyMap came out as a tool that allowed quick implementation and easy analysis of data ensuring a quick return on the investment”, says Pedro Sardo, responsible for IT Department, at TV Cabo.
“cVidya's agreement with TV Cabo is strategically important to us as it enhances our presence in the Portuguese market, where we had to compete with local providers. This demonstrates that cVidya’s product-based approach, combined with the flexibility of MoneyMap and the dedication of our staff, is a winning combination.  This deal further establishes our position as a leader in Revenue Assurance in Europe," says Alon Aginsky, CEO of cVidya. 
cVidya’s MoneyMap Data Integrity and Revenue Assurance solution enables operators to correlate and consolidate information from all network operations and business systems. Through an ongoing process, it automatically detects problem areas in which profit margins are decreasing as a result of revenue leakage or inefficient resource use, which - beyond the immediate loss of revenues - may lead to potential customer retention trouble spots. Once MoneyMap identifies the areas of revenue leakage and resource inefficiency, operators can promptly correct and manage the problems to achieve profit maximization.

Verizon Business and MPS Broadband extend relationship

Verizon Business to enable global launch of MPS Broadband Media Publishing Services

Verizon Business will provide advanced digital media, hosting and network services to MPS Broadband, as the company expands the reach of its MPS Publishing Platform - a state-of-the-art offering that enables the media and entertainment industry to publish and syndicate content over broadband around the world.

Since 2004, Stockholm-based MPS Broadband has been using the Verizon Media Platform - Verizon Business' flagship digital media platform, targeting broadcast and entertainment companies - to more efficiently acquire, edit and deliver digital media content for the media and entertainment industry in Europe. With a new agreement with Verizon Business for advanced hosting services, MPS Broadband will be able to launch its MPS Publishing Platform in the United States and other markets internationally.

"Verizon Business and MPS Broadband are working together to make leading-edge digital media applications a reality for the broadcast and entertainment companies," said Ed Franklin, group vice president of IT services for Verizon Business. "By combining our advanced IP services and the Verizon Media Platform with MPS Broadband's innovative technology, we will set a new standard for digital media solutions."

MPS Broadband, with offices in the United States and the United Kingdom as well as Sweden, is a privately-owned company that provides applications and software for management and distribution of digital media over broadband, including My Station for Internet Service Providers and telecommunications companies, My Channel for user-generated content and My Content for broadcasters and content rights owners -- products built on and powered by the MPS Publishing Platform.

As part of its extended relationship with Verizon Business, MPS Broadband is deploying its MPS Publishing Platform housed in an advanced Verizon Business Data Center in the United States. Verizon Business will provide enterprise monitoring, servers, storage and bandwidth, and MPS Broadband can take advantage of the intelligence and security within Verizon Business' global IP network. The MPS Publishing Platform powered by Verizon Business allows MPS Broadband room to grow to meet the demands of not only U.S.-based clients, but also customers globally.

"The extended relationship with Verizon Business, will make our vision of a globally accessible 'content eco-system' possible," said Mattias Sjoberg, CEO of MPS Broadband. "By deploying the MPS Publishing Platform on the Verizon Business global IP backbone, we will be able to provide both Verizon Business' and MPS' customers an advanced solution that is highly cost-effective and extremely scalable."

Verizon Business' Digital Media Technologies group is dedicated to developing and distributing turnkey digital media solutions for content creators, producers, media outlets and entertainment and video gaming organizations.

3G Media Consult acquired by Comsys

New organization structure to focus on growing mobile entertainment market

3G Media Consult (3GMC), specialist in mobile content distribution to mobile operators, has been acquired by Comsys, supplier of interactive voice response systems (IVRs), speech-controlled self-service solutions, multimedia contact centres and network services. Both Comsys and 3G Media Consult were already part of DMS International Group and will now join forces under the name of Comsys.

Comsys and 3G Media Consult are said to complement each other with regard to technology and know-how in the field of interactive telephony. By sharing resources, R&D facilities and strategic partnerships, the new organization will be able to focus more closely on the introduction of new services and innovations.

Gerrit Jan Konijnenberg, who was appointed CEO of Comsys earlier this year and is also the founder of 3G Media Consult, says, "I am convinced that the integration of the two companies will be beneficial in all respects, especially as the market for mobile entertainment is growing rapidly. We know from experience that the two organizations cooperate very efficiently. For instance, last year we jointly introduced the advanced telephony platform SpeechFrame mobile." Konijnenberg is also the chairman of the Forum Innovatieve Media and member of the European board of the global Mobile Entertainment Forum.

Nortel powers Sonofon's 'super-fast' communication services in Denmark

Metro Ethernet network delivers interactive gaming, music, video and web services

Sonofon A/S, Denmark's second largest mobile telephone operator, is powering communications services such as interactive games, music downloads, video streaming and web browsing with a Nortel solution. The Nortel Metro Ethernet Networking wireless backhaul solution is allowing Sonofon, a subsidiary of Norway's Telenor, to deliver new, high-speed web-based products and services in Denmark.

"Today's consumers are impatient to download their music, video, and e-mail attachments in seconds rather than minutes," said Peter Berg, head of Consumer Division, Sonofon. "We chose Nortel's Metro Ethernet technology as a simple and cost-efficient way to extend Telenor's Norwegian network into Denmark, converging with the Sonofon Danish network to help us deliver these new super-fast communications services."

"Nortel's advanced wireless backhaul solutions provide flexibility, reliability, and cost-efficient scalability providing Sonofon with an efficient technology platform for delivering new high-speed revenue-generating mobile services," said Philippe Morin president Metro Ethernet Networks, Nortel.

The new Sonofon Multiservice Transport Network is an extension of the Telenor network in Norway which was deployed by Nortel and delivers ATM, IP and voice services.The Sonofon network enables services to be downloaded at speeds reaching 1.5 Mbps, which is similar to speeds achieved by DSL or cable connections.

The Telenor Norwegian network, based on Nortel technology, was launched in December 2004 and currently provides service to 70.6 percent of Norway's 4.5 million population. The network's ability to cope with this level of traffic gave additional confidence to Sonofon since, under the terms of its Danish UMTS license, its network coverage must exceed 30 percent of the 5.4 million population of Denmark by 2009.

Sonofon's current network includes products from Nortel's Metro Ethernet Networking solutions portfolio which meet the demand for increased bandwidth, high speeds and strict performance standards in metropolitan networks - using network consolidation to deliver revenue and profit potential. Sonofon's solution components include the Multiservice Switch 7480 for access aggregation and backhaul, the Multiservice Switch 15000 for backbone switching and the Ethernet Switch 470 for Ethernet aggregation.

Huawei appoints senior consultant to strengthen European CTO team

Huawei Technologies has appointed John Frieslaar, as a senior telecommunications consultant to CTO Office. He brings over twenty-six years of telecommunications experience within the global voice and data communications market to Huawei and will be responsible for developing senior-level client relationships, overall business planning and forward-looking product plans for Huawei within the global market place.

Based in Huawei's European CTO office in Basingstoke, UK, Frieslaar is tasked with ensuring that Huawei remains focused on identifying and qualifying new technologies and market directions in order to further develop and strengthen its industry leading product portfolio. This will be based on several market analysis techniques as well as customer input.

Frieslaar's previous experience includes working with a number of local and global service providers, such as China Telecom, DT, BT, AT&T, Sprint and Telekom SA. Much of his career has been focused on working within the equipment vendor community for companies such as Lucent Technologies, Madge Networks and ZTE.

Most recently, Frieslaar has spent much of his time supporting the BT 21CN network activities and other service provider Next Generation Network projects and programmes. This has required him to lead and develop several, often geographically diverse teams, in providing comprehensive solutions to either internal or external customer requirements.

Commenting on his new role, Frieslaar says "Huawei is at an exciting stage of its global growth and development. It is a company committed to delivering the best value to its customers and I'm delighted to be at the forefront of the continual development of innovative solutions to meet its customers requirements. I look forward to the prospect of helping to drive the business forward and exploit new opportunities in this dynamic market."

Edward Chen, Managing Director of Huawei UK, added: "We are delighted to have Frieslaar on board.  His appointment is a sign of our commitment to hiring employees with the breadth of experience needed to best serve our customers.  Huawei's growth and reputation for technical innovation mean that as an employer we are attractive to people that have gained experience throughout the vendor community.  John Frieslaar's experience of next generation networks will bring enormous benefits to the team."

Frieslaar's appointment is effective immediately.

Robert Redford announces Sundance Film Festival: Global Short Film For mobile

Sundance Institute announces pilot project in collaboration with the GSM Association, to create short films for viewing on mobile phones

Sundance Institute, a champion for independent filmmakers for over 25 years, has announced that it is joining forces with the GSM Association (GSMA), whose members serve more than 2 billion mobile phone customers across the globe, to create the Sundance Film Festival: Global Short Film Project, a groundbreaking pilot project that will showcase and extend the reach of the independent short film genre to mobile users worldwide. 

Unveiled at a press conference at the Museum of Television & Radio in New York, the organizers of the Sundance Film Festival in conjunction with the GSMA, have commissioned six independent filmmakers to create five short films, crafted exclusively for mobile distribution. All of the filmmakers participating in the project have screened films at the annual Sundance Film Festival.

“Cell phones are fast becoming the 'fourth screen' medium, after television, cinema and computers,” said Sundance Institute president and founder Robert Redford. “We feel this experiment embodies fully, our quarter-century dedication to exploring new platforms to support wider distribution of independent voices in filmmaking. We are excited about bringing this opportunity to independent filmmakers and most excited to see what they will do with it,” added Redford.
While cell phones have previously been used to deliver film and entertainment content, this pilot project is believed to be the first to commission high calibre independent filmmakers to create original stories specifically for the mobile environment. The project presents creative challenges to the filmmakers who will be working with a limited budget, time and resources to make a 3-5 minute film for a small mobile screen.
“The Global Short Film Project takes us into the realms of a uniquely intimate new medium, one which holds tremendous promise for maximising the impact and international reach of the short film genre, and in doing so serving the artists,” said John Cooper, Director of Programming for the Sundance Film Festival and Creative Director for Sundance Institute, who will oversee the project.
Citing the experimental and groundbreaking nature of the collaboration, Bill Gajda, Chief Marketing Officer at the GSM Association said, “The emergence of mobile as the fourth screen is already changing the way people are educated and entertained. This project will explore the potential of the mobile medium to deliver compelling, cinematic entertainment to a global audience on an unprecedented scale.”
The six filmmakers featured in the Sundance Film Festival: Global Short Film Project are Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE – 06 SFF), Justin Lin (BETTER LUCK TOMORROW – 02 SFF), Maria Maggenti (PUCCINI FOR BEGINNERS – 06 SFF), Cory McAbee (THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT – SFF 01) and Jody Hill (THE FOOT FIST WAY – SFF 06).
The Sundance Institute will exclusively premiere these completed short films on the opening day of the world's biggest annual mobile event, the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona next year (12-15 February 2007).The films will be available for cell phone download during the congress for attendees, and for broader distribution through mobile carriers immediately following the event – further details will be announced early next year.

Kazakhtelecom selects Alcatel

Alcatel has announced that Kazakhtelecom JSC, the leading fixed incumbent service provider in Kazakhstan, has selected Alcatel’s optical networking solution for triple play service delivery, including enhanced high-speed Internet access and evolution to IPTV (Internet protocol television), across the country. The new 6,000 km optical transport network will increase the capacity and extend the reach of Kazakhtelecom’s existing infrastructure, broadening its service offering to new areas.

The 5 million Euro turnkey project is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2007. Based on Alcatel’s market-leading optical networking technologies, the new network will be the longest backbone network to be rolled-out in Central Asia, covering around 133 districts, 10 regional and 14 local departments.